Undead People

The Undead are a peaceful people inhabiting the snowy lands far North to Doujate. Their first settlement, the Frozen Cathedral, was founded at the very beginning of the second era, according to their leader, a mighty immortal demigod, the Archlich, First of the Undead.   The Moon Goddess and her Church want to wipe them from existence, accusing them to be the most dangerous kind of demonic spawns. Cosmos Wayfarers defend them instead, arguing that their origin is vastly different. How exactly undead came to be in the first place is unclear. Some people say it is indeed a demonic curse cast upon the frozen lands, some claim it is a powerful magical sigil designed by the Archlich for unknown purposes.  

Culture

Common Dress code

Undead bodies lived at least one life and are often scarred and battered, sometimes deformed. It is custom among them, especially when travelling to other civilised lands and meeting other civilised people, to hide their appearances with long dresses and masks, so that their skin and body is completely covered.   Though this habit originated from making their living among other people less awkward, they had slowly adopted it in their cities too, until it became a distinctive custom. Undead do not even need clothing to warm themselves in the first place, since most of their body functions are disabled.   Many undead cities became well known for their fine dresses and detailed masks, often traded with foreign merchants. Imperial rich people, nobles and agents of the Court are particularly interested in this commerce.

Art & Architecture

Undead people developed a distinctive architecture for their cities. Almost all of their buildings share pointed arches, coloured rosed windows and insanely high spires.   Every undead in the frozen lands finds these characteristics aesthetically pleasing. This homogeneity seems suspicious and many wondered where it comes from. Answers are yet to be found. Since the most ancient construction featuring them is the Frozen Cathedral, the most widely accepted explanation is that it is somehow tied to their death and rebirth cycle. Looking at a building similar to the Cathedral would talk directly to the spirit within their undead bodies.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Undead people are not immortal, as many think. They are even short-lived when compared to the other humanoid species of Nys. The misconception originates from the fact that, in the Frozen Lands, a new soul can form in a dead body and begin a new life. For this reason, the same physical body can host several souls and live different lives one after the other. The new individual knows nothing about previous lives, except they happened.   Many mages believe it is possible to suspend the soul of the dead inside an object, where it can wait for rebirth, thus rising as the same individual. They call a person revived in this way a lich, and it would be a completely different process than undead birth. Researching about the matter is not forbidden, but looked at with suspicion, as something overthrowing the sacred cycle of life and death.   The only individual with enough knowledge and magical power to enact the process is the Archlich, leader of the Undead. He is deemed to be immortal, in the sense that he dies and rises again, in a neverending cycle of death and rebirth, called Sacred Cycle.

Sacred Cycle

Each cycle lasts for a different amount of time and goes on until the Archlich rings the Cathedral's bells the first time. Their echo resonates across the lands, telling everyone it is time for the First Undead to die.   But his death does not come easily. A form of abyssal corruption, thought to be a condition similar to the Demonic Taint, rots his heart. He loses his mind and refuses to die.   Heroes, often Cosmos Wayfarers, come from all over Nys to challenge him and put him to rest. When one of them succeeds, the mad king dies, and the bells ring again. From the Cathedral's depth, the Archlich rises again, pure of heart and uncorrupted, and a new cycle begins.   At the beginning of the new cycle, following the lead of their king, souls can fill dead bodies, waking them up from their temporary graves in the Frozen Lands.  

Rebirth

Not every dead body can undergo rebirth. It is unclear what conditions are required for the ritual to work. It is commonly believed they are less strict closer to the Cathedral, where the magic is stronger.   It seems the most important requirements are intact internal organs, the heart and brain in particular, and a fair amount of central body mass in the torso. A body missing limbs (even all of them) will regrow them miraculously, even though scars will be visible. Portions of organs might regrow, but a completely missing one usually does not.   During the funeral, friends and family of the deceased dress them in fine clothes along with their favourite mask, and bury them with their riches and gold inside a burial mound. When they seal the grave, they draw a magical sigil on the entrance, marking it for rebirth.   When time will come, consciousness will form inside the body and a new individual will rise, ready to begin their life with the riches and gold of their predecessor.   The tumulus is a usually a small building consisting of a single room containing the goods and the actual grave, a coffin without cover. People can build their own, or they can rent one inside a public cemetery.

undead_gothic_window.jpg

by Krzysztof Mizera

Example of a rosed window.      

undead_gothic_spire.jpg

by Jebulon

Example of a spire.


Cover image: by Enrique Meseguer

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